A total ban on gifts helps limit the most overt corruption, and it also prevents lobbyists from sharing expensive meals with legislators as a way to establish and maintain a cozy personal relationship. While some states have restricted gifts, others still see large amounts of spending by lobbyists on legislators.  In California last year, lawmakers and gubernatorial aides accepted close to $1 million in meals and entertainment from lobbyists.

There is no reason for lawmakers to be receiving gifts from lobbyists. New York recently limited all gifts given in a year to $75 per legislator.  Iowa has a good model law (Iowa Code Chapter 68B, Section 22) with limited and well crafted exemptions.  At least seven states have a total ban on gifts.